Nutritional Information for Yellow Squash

There are many varieties of squash that can be enjoyed in all of the seasons. Summer squash is more tender and soft. It grows like crazy with a huge yield. The bright yellow and dark green (zucchini) colors reflect their antioxidant capacity. There are specific plant chemicals and micronutrients found in the skins that have been found to be extremely protective in many areas of health.

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Benefits of Yellow Squash

Cancer Prevention Benefits

Men eating more yellow and orange vegetables have been associated with less prostate cancer risk. This doesn’t mean yellow squash directly targets prostate cancer cells, but eating it in combination with other colorful vegetables has been shown to be protective. The carotenoids – a class of antioxidants — in these foods may be one of the main reasons why they’re so powerful. For survivors, higher blood levels of certain carotenoids and antioxidants may help men with recurring prostate cancer. Cooking these foods help release more of the carotenoid availability.  

Another study found that those who were eating a greater amount of yellow and orange vegetables and fruits had lower risk of colorectal cancer. Red, purple, green, and white fruits and vegetables seems to also play a role in reducing risk.

In middle-aged men, total dietary carotenoid intake was related to fat and oxidative stress markers. This means the more foods with carotenoids consumed the less inflammation and oxidation present. Beta carotene was the main carotenoid associated with decreased oxidation markers.

An older study looking at the elderly and how much carotenoids they were eating found that those eating more green and yellow vegetables (calculated from intake of carrots or squash, tomatoes, salads or leafy vegetables, dried fruits, fresh strawberries or fresh melon, and broccoli or brussel sprouts) significantly lowered their risk of dying from cancer. The authors conclude “carotene may act as an inhibitor of carcinogenesis.”

Men's Health Benefits

Studies have concluded that a solid public health strategy for reducing the risk of age-related eye degeneration would be to aim for eating more foods rich in carotenoids. There’s been an association with dietary carotenoid intake and lower risk of eye diseases.
Carotenoids in foods have also been associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Plus, we know that reducing the risk of diabetes automatically reducing the risk of various cancers. Reducing the risk of one chronic disease likely always reduces the risk of another chronic disease.

Ways to Use Yellow Squash

+ Grill, roast, or sauté with other veggies or on their own.

+ Add cooked or raw summer squash to salads, soups, sandwiches.

Resources for Yellow Squash

American Institute for Cancer Research: www.aicr.org

Nutrition Facts: www.nutritionfacts.org

Physicians Committee: www.pcrm.org

USDA Nutrient Database: Yellow Squash

Citations
  1. Wu J, Cho E, Willett WC, Sastry SM, Schaumberg DA. Intakes of Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Other Carotenoids and Age-Related Macular Degeneration During 2 Decades of Prospective Follow-up. JAMA Ophthalmic. 2015;133(12):1415-24. 
  2. Sluijs I, Cadier E, Beulens JW, et al. Dietary intake of carotenoids and risk of type 2 diabetes. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2015;25(4):376-81.
  3. Cocate PG, Natali AJ, Alfenas RC, et al. Carotenoid consumption is related to lower lipid oxidation and DNA damage in middle-aged men. Br J Nutr. 2015;114(2):257-64.
  4. Kolonel LN, Hankin JH, Whittemore AS, et al. Vegetables, fruits, legumes and prostate cancer: a multiethnic case-control study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2000;9(8):795-804.
  5. Antwi SO, Steck SE, Zhang H. Plasma carotenoids and tocopherols in relation to prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels among men with biochemical recurrence of prostate cancer. Cancer Epidemiol. 2015;t;39(5):752-62.
  6. Ghavami A, Coward W, Bluck L. The effect of food preparation on the bioavailability of carotenoids from carrots using intrinsic labelling. Br J Nutr. 2012;107(9):1350-66.
  7. Luo WP, Fang YJ, Lu MS, Zhong X, Chen YM, Zhang CX. High consumption of vegetable and fruit colour groups is inversely associated with the risk of colorectal cancer: a case-control study. Br J Nutr. 2015;113(7):1129-38.
  8. Colditz GA, Branch LG, Lipnick RJ, et al. Increased green and yellow vegetable intake and lowered cancer deaths in an elderly population.Am J Clin Nutr. 1985;41(1):32-6.

 

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